You may have noticed the mood around your office change since the start of the financial crisis. Managers may be more worried about the bottom line. Employees may be more concerned about making ends meet and saving their own money. You may see more people brown bagging their lunches.

Perhaps in response to the financial crisis’ effect on employee morale, a majority of companies’ chief financial officers say their organizations are working to improve employee morale. A recent survey by Accountemps found that 68 percent of 1,400 CFOs surveyed said their companies were taking steps to improve morale.

What steps are they taking?

  • increased frequency, quality of communication: 37 percent
  • offered additional financial rewards: 18 percent
  • provided additional professional development opportunities: 18 percent
  • conducted additional team-building activities: 18 percent
  • enhanced employee recognition programs: 15 percent

(the survey allowed for multiple responses)

  • no steps taken: 26 percent

“Employee motivation should be a continual priority for businesses, but in a period of economic uncertainty, managers need to invest even more time and effort into maintaining team morale,” said Max Messmer, chairman of Accountemps and author of Motivating Employees For Dummies® (John Wiley & Sons, Inc.). “Companies that work diligently to keep their top performers engaged improve their chances to retain these key contributors.”

Messmer noted, “Professionals crave information about the company’s performance and their own job stability. When there is little or sporadic communication from the company, employees are more likely to fill in the blanks themselves, perhaps by jumping to negative conclusions.”

Based on my personal work experience, I have to say that the more information made available the better. Sharing information leads to collaboration and employees developing ideas to improve the business. It also gives employees a sense of ownership. And in most cases information sharing is one of the less expensive ways to boost employee morale.

March 13, 2009.